It's unusual to have a show where every character is unlikable, but the HBO drama about a dysfunctional media dynasty somehow succeeds. "Succession occupies a grey space between comedy and prestige drama, and its cast of horror-show characters are intent on inflicting maximum pain on each other," says EJ Dickson. "This often makes for extremely uncomfortable viewing." Shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia are other examples of shows packed with unlikable characters, but they bill themselves as comedies. Even anti-hero shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and Mad Men each had a peripheral character "whose innocence or spunkiness humanizes the antihero and throws their bad behavior into relief," says Dickson. Succession's unlikable characters are why some critics initially didn't like the show. As Dickson points out, "Succession has no such moral center. In fact, it cleverly subverts the trope of the moral straight-man...Succession takes a cool, dispassionate, almost clinical interest in the foibles of the rich. Were it not for the snappy, profane one-liners, it would come off as almost documentarian in its approach towards the .001 percent." ALSO: How Succession became a Twitter sensation.
TOPICS: Succession, HBO, Peak TV